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Living the Faith: Maria Quiroga and Alvin Shiggs

Maria Quiroga and Alvin Shiggs, with their children Nicholas and Sara

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“I think the universality of the Church, having grown up in the AME, which was a small group, is something that has always struck me,” he said. “Celebrating with people of many different walks of life, all in one Church, is something that makes me always reflect on my faith.”

This is visible in their parish community. As Quiroga explained, their parish is made up of a wide variety of cultures -- Hispanic, African-American, Caribbean, African, Laotian, Caucasian -- and all of these are very much intertwined.

“We’re one Church. We’re different, but we’re one Church,” Shiggs added.

“Always the way we celebrate [feast days] celebrates the diversity of the parish,” said Quiroga. “The life of the parish is really done all together.”

Quiroga added, “This should be the snapshot of the entire Church.”

The couple praised the many pastors that have been at St. Mary’s through the years, noting that their leadership was often what fostered that sense of community that crossed ethnic barriers. In particular they lauded their current pastor, Father David Gill, SJ, noting with sadness that he will be leaving at the end of June.

“Father Gill has always supported the parish’s role in developing the laity. He really wants to see the involvement of the laity, of young people, of women, of all of us in the life of the parish,” Shiggs said. “He will be greatly missed.”

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